Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A food post.- Wild Rice Salad

It's been pouring with rain this morning here in Northern Virginia, and according to the weather underground site that I go to for my area, it is 58.9 degrees F. and we are supposed to have thunderstorms.  Yes, I know I grew up in England BUT I don't think I will be going out today and will make use of the time at home.  There is always a lot to do around here, housework being at the top of the list.  Gregg just called and is going to work the rest of the day at home.  

(Below is what I put together using a recipe I found on the museum's website)

Not so long ago Gregg and I went to Washington DC to visit the United States Botanical Garden. From there we walked over to the  National Museum for the American Indian.  It is only a very short walk away, on the next block.  We are lucky to come here often during the year and though this day we browsed exhibits on the first floor, we were really there for lunch.  Since the museum opened we have enjoyed trying the various dishes offered in the Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe.  It is a fun experience as we are able to choose native dishes from all across the United States.  Online I read that the name "Mitsitam" means "Let's Eat" in the language of the Delaware and Piscataway peoples and you can read more about the cafe here.  We enjoy all their dishes but the traditional Fry Bread and the Wild Rice Salad are two favorites, most definitely.  Gregg said he wished we could make the wild rice dish at home and not really thinking I would be able to get the recipe, I did a search on line.  Much to my surprise it was easy to get and this week I made it for our evening meal.

This is Gregg's plate when we were at the museum.  He had the turkey on a roll with some kind of grainy mustard and you can see the Wild Rice Salad that I will be giving the recipe for below.

My dish was the turkey on a roll, and I ordered a side of wild onions with corn and a crabapple and cranberry relish.  I would like to study the menu more before we go next time as there are so many choices I have a hard time deciding when we get there, and always opt for the same thing.  To see other meals offered you can go here.

Wild Rice Salad
(Native Recipe from Mitsitam Cafe, National Museum of the American Indian.)

You can find the recipe here.  This will take you to a page where you will meet the Executive Chef for the museum.  Lots of interesting information.  Scroll down a ways for the recipe.

1/2 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
6 cups chicken stock
1-1/2 cup wild rice
1 carrot, cut into half-inch long matchsticks
3 tablespoons dried cranberries
1 Roma tomato, finely diced
4 or 5 scallions (green onions), finely chopped
3 bunches of watercress

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Spread the pine nuts and pumpkin seeds in a small baking pan and toast them in the oven for about 10 minutes, until they are golden brown.  Let cool.

Combine the chicken stock and wild rice in a stockpot.  Bring to a boil, reduce to low and simmer, covered, for about 45-55 minutes, until the grains are just opened up and tender.  Spread the hot rice on a baking sheet and let cool.

When the rice is cool, scrape it into a large bowl and add carrots, dried cranberries, diced tomato, toasted pine nuts and pumpkin seed mixture, and scallions.

Toss all of the ingredients together with the vinaigrette, refrigerate for at least 1 hour and serve over watercress.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Vinaigrette Recipe

3 tablespoons apple-cider vinegar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons honey

Place cider vinegar in a bowl and slowly mix in oil.  Sweeten with just a touch of honey.


I made this recipe just before Gregg walked through the door.  I put it in the fridge and we went out shortly afterwards.  The weather really has been glorious around here lately and we haven't wanted to waste any of it.  By the time we were heading home it was past dinner time and we stopped off at our supermarket to pick up one of their honey-baked chickens.  We also bought some potato salad, and that made a really nice meal along with the rice salad which was the star of this show.  We both thought it was great and will be making it again.  There were a lot of leftovers and the next night we served the rice over a bed of watercress.  We don't eat watercress that often and we were both surprised at the taste, peppery and it almost reminded us of a radish taste.   Once combined with the salad they complimented each other well.

I was surprised that after cooking the wild rice there was a lot of liquid left in the pot.  I am not sure why this was.  I had expected it to absorb the liquid like regular rice.  I had to drain it thoroughly before spreading it out on the baking sheet.

It is a real pretty recipe to look at, aesthetically very pleasing and the taste only gets better.

We found we didn't need a lot as it seemed very filling.

It has been a long time since I bought a cookbook but when I saw that the museum had one with all their recipes inside I treated myself and here it is.

It has all kinds of neat recipes along with a few interesting facts about the Native Indian peoples across America.  As I am always keen to learn about other cultures I bought the book and took a few photos to share today.

Here is a map of all the museums on the Mall.  We were lucky enough to find a parking space right behind our museum on the mall side, but this is a rare occurrence and we felt like shouting Eureka!  We usually park in an underground parking lot about half a mile away, which is fine because it isn't that far and we always welcome a bit of exercise.  The road we take ends up at the  National Air and Space Museum.  That is always popular and we might go there next time as it's been a while since we visited that one.

The bottom left you can see the US Capitol, next is the U.S. Botanic Garden and then you will see the National Museum of the American Indian.

Quick trivia fact and absolutely nothing to do with this post but Gregg just told me something and I thought I would share.

What is the fastest swimming fish in the world?

Answer?  The swordfish.  It can swim 68 miles an hour.  Gregg just got this off twitter so hope they have their facts right.

Hmmmm.......think the next recipe I make will be Fish Tacos.

When we went to the supermarket a couple of days later to buy the ingredients for this recipe, and on getting out of our car Gregg found a $20 bill on the ground.  It was folded neatly and probably fell out of someone's pocket.  He took it inside and handed it over to customer service.  Hopefully the person who lost it might think to check when they return to the store.  I remember losing money out of my pocket, it's not a good feeling when you find it gone.


  1. Bonjour dear Denise,
    You prepared an interesting article, so many details about this Museum, thanks for sharing your pictures!
    hmmm looks a delicious meal there!

  2. Fantastic post, tasty food:) I am greeting

  3. Something to try this weekend. Tempting pictures.

  4. Denise, thanks for sharing this Wild Rice Salad. It looks delicious. I learned something new today about the fastest swimming fish. And I love fish tacos. It is so nice of you to return the money, I hope someone comes back for it. Have a happy day!

  5. It looks and sounds delicious. I really like wild rice, anyway.

  6. I loved this! I imagine a lot of the recipe are vegan...or can be made vegan.
    Jane x

  7. You are just the MOST amazing cook, Denise. Sigh... All of this looks really wonderful. I know it's almost dinner time, but this is making me drool.

  8. Your food looks delicious the book looks really interesting i have always been interested in native american indians